I can already hear some of you saying, "Veal meatball and what soup?" I'm glad you asked. Broccoli Rabe is a leafy green vegetable that is slightly bitter and very popular in Southern Italy. It is also known as Rapini or just Rabe. Although you'd assume it's a relative of broccoli, it's actually closely related to turnips. It's a very healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamins A and C and lots of potassium. I really enjoy the little bit of bitterness and also the fact that you can do so many things with it. It's great in soups, pastas, just as a side, sauteed with olive oil and garlic (really, what isn't good sauteed with olive oil and garlic??), or even made into a pesto.
Soup isn't something I find myself making every other day, but, when it's cold outside and I'm feeling chilled, I have a few soups in my recipe arsenal that warm me right up. This is one of them. I acquired this recipe some years back while watching 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. It's a delicious and comforting meal in a bowl....definitely a "keeper".
|In case you're unfamiliar.....this is a bunch of Broccoli Rabe.|
Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Soup
1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, trimmed (see *note) and cut into large, bite-size pieces
2 tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (1 minced and 3 chopped)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt and black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken stock
2 cups unsalted beef stock
1/3 pound Ditalini pasta
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground veal
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2-3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
In a bowl, mix together all of the meatball ingredients. Form into 36 (1") balls and set aside.
Add the cannellini beans and heat through for a minute. Season with the salt and pepper.
Add the drained broccoli rabe and both stocks. Cover and bring to a quick boil.
Stir in the Ditalini. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the little meatballs.
Taste and adjust seasoning , if necessary. Serve the soup in shallow bowls with more Romano cheese shaved over the top. And don't forget the good, crusty bread to go along-side.
Note: To trim broccoli rabe, cut off about 1" or so from bottoms of stalks and also any yellowed or wilted leaves. Wash in plenty of cold water.